After a brief period following the Whigs, Canning entered Parliament in 1793 as a disciple of William Pitt. He is remembered as the architect of Britain's liberal foreign policy after the Napoleonic Wars, and for supporting the Greeks in their struggle against the Ottomans and the Latin American colonies against Spain and Portugal. Canning clashed with Lord Castlereagh over war strategy and fought a duel with him in 1809. After Castlereagh's death in 1822 he was again Foreign Secretary until he was appointed Prime Minister in 1827.Lawrence depicts Canning declaiming in the House of Commons. One supporter saw it and recalled his spirit-rousing 'Portugal' speech: 'Here I plant my standard and where the standard of Britain is planted no oppressor can ever come!' However Burdett, an opponent, thought him posed 'like an actor standing before a glass rehearsing a part.'
Where to see this painting?
National Portrait Gallery, London
St Martin’s Place, London, Greater London, England, WC2H 0HE
If you are planning a visit to see this painting, check with the collection first. Paintings can be moved at short notice.
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